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Germany's Cacau and Mesut Oezil, top, celebrated often against Australia, but should get a sterner test from Serbia. ((Geno Breloer/Associated Press))

Day 8, Match 1 

Germany vs. Serbia, Group D

Date and Location

June 18, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth   

Broadcast details

Live on CBC and CBCSports.ca (7 a.m. ET). Consult CBC’s full broadcast schedule.

Rogers Pre-game Show

Watch the Rogers Pre-game show 30 minutes before kick-off as our panel of soccer experts provide up-to-the-minute news from South Africa on this match.

What's at stake 

Germany put in a stunning performance in its opening game, walking all over Australia in a dominant 4-0 win. Serbia, on the other hand, looked somewhat lacklustre in dropping a 1-0 decision to Ghana.

Germany tops Group D with three points, and more than likely can clinch a second-round berth with a win in this match. Even a draw would leave the Germans in excellent shape, as they would probably need to take just a single point in their last match of the round, against Ghana.

Serbia, on the other hand, has it all to do. A victory would put them back in the race for the top two spots in the group (and the two second-round berths that go with them). A loss or a tie, however, would leave the door open for Ghana to advance to the next round at Serbia’s expense, should the Africans defeat Australia.

Suspension watch 

Forward Cacau earned a yellow card in Germany’s previous match. If he receives another against Serbia, he will be suspended for his country’s final game of the group stage. 

Defender Aleksandar Lukovic picked up two yellow cards in Serbia’s previous match, ruling him out for this game. Also, midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanovic and forward Nikola Zigic will miss Serbia’s final match if they earn yellow cards against Germany.

Player to watch for Germany 

Lukas Podolski —The German striker ran the Australian defence ragged with his scintillating runs and his pace. Riding high after scoring against the Socceroos, he’ll be looking to add more goals to his tally against the Serbs.

Player to watch for Serbia

Dejan Stankovic —The Inter Milan star had a pretty modest game (by his high standards) against Ghana, so he’ll be looking to make amends against Germany. If Serbia is to have any chance of winning this game, the Serbian playmaker will have to effectively orchestrate the attack.

Key match-up 

Lukas Podolski vs. Nemanja Vidic —This should be a great one-on-one battle to watch. Can Vidic, generally regarded as one of the best central defenders in the world, shut down the dangerous Podolski? Can Podolski do to Vidic what he did to the likes of Australia’s Lucas Neill? Time will tell. 

The German perspective 

"The international press are heaping praise on us, when you play well you are everyone's darling, but if we lose 2-0 to Serbia, they will tear us apart, so we need to keep our feet on the ground."  - midfielder Thomas Mueller

The Serbian perspective 

"It's very difficult game for us because we lost the first game and now we play one of the favourites at the World Cup. Germany, of course, are a very strong team, a very hard team and we have to show that we can play against the big teams." –defender Branislav Ivanovic

World Cup head-to-head 

Germany and Serbia have never faced each other at the World Cup, but there past incarnations as West Germany and Yugoslavia have a long history in FIFA’s showpiece event. The two countries met six times from 1954 to 1998, with West Germany winning four times. Yugoslavia’s only win came in the quarter-finals of the 1962 tournament in Chile.  

  • Games played: 6
  • West Germany: 4 wins, 1 loss, 1 draw
  • Yugoslavia: 1 win, 4 losses, 1 draw
  • Goals: West Germany 11, Yugoslavia 4  
  • Last match: These nations met at France 1998 in the group stage when they battled to a 2-2 draw.

All time head-to-head     

  • Games played: 27
  • West Germany/Germany: 16 wins, 7 losses, 4 draws
  • Yugoslavia/Serbia and Montenegro/Serbia: 7 wins, 16 losses, 4 draws
  • Goals: West Germany/Germany 49, Yugoslavia/Serbia and Montenegro/Serbia 32  
  • Last match: Serbia faced Germany in Gelsenkirchen in 2008. The Germans won 2-1.